Snohomish County corrections chiefs quit

EVERETT — The two top officials at Snohomish County’s Corrections Department announced their resignations Friday, and plan to leave their posts Dec. 31.

Corrections Director Steve Thompson and Deputy Director Susan Clawson both said they’re leaving because of a County Council plan to establish a new corrections bureau under Sheriff John Lovick.

“I believe it is in the best interests of all parties for me to resign as director,” Thompson said in his resignation letter.

The plan to dissolve Thompson’s department won’t be final until Nov. 10, and even then, County Executive Aaron Reardon could veto it.

Thompson has been a vocal opponent of the plan.

The change would mean more than 360 county corrections workers would answer to Lovick, who already supervises about 360 people in the sheriff’s office. If the plan is approved, Lovick’s office would be the largest county department. The county Public Works Department has 670 workers. Thompson works under Reardon’s executive office. Lovick was elected to his post.

The change would save money, said Councilman Mike Cooper, who proposed the ordinance this week. Administrative staff in both departments could be merged. Lovick has trimmed costs in the sheriff’s office, and that could work for the corrections department, too, Cooper said.

Cooper said he was surprised to hear Thompson resigned. Lovick has the authority to hire a corrections director to work within the sheriff’s office, and he could have hired Thompson, Cooper said.

“Sheriff Lovick never indicated that he wouldn’t keep him, at least during the transition,” Cooper said.

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or kkapralos@heraldnet.com.

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